Adding Wild Card Teams in NFL Playoff Expansion is Worst Idea Ever

NFL Playoff Expansion Wild Card

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has the best playoff system of any major American sport at any level. As great as the various postseasons fielded by all of the college and pro leagues are, they don’t quite meet the standard set by pro football’s most prestigious organization. Why? The NFL has the perfect amount of teams in its playoff tournament and a superb way of selecting them. So why screw it up by adding another Wild Card team in each conference?

A report involving Dan Patrick says the NFL owners are planning on expanding the current NFL playoff format from six to seven teams in each conference, adding a third Wild Card team for both the NFC and AFC. How the heck would and odd-number work? And don’t even bring up MLB — they can play every day, unlike the NFL; adding a play-in game would mean adding another week to the postseason.

The other part of this is the bracket creep philosophy: more teams means less-quality competition, and that’s true. The Dallas Cowboys narrowly missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons and no one wants to see them qualify for the postseason, yet more 8-8 teams playing in January is exactly what we would get by expanding the field.

The NFL rarely has a .500 team in the playoffs and it’s best that it stays that way. Sure, those mediocre teams sometimes make things interesting in the Wild Card round, but not always. Sure, the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks of 2010 won their first contest at home but then didn’t stand a chance on the road in the next round. The same thing happened with Tim Tebow and the 8-8 Denver Broncos in 2011 — that incredible Wild Card win was instantly forgotten after a thumping in the Divisional Round.

With more teams in the playoffs, there will be more games that don’t mean anything. For example, everyone knows this year’s Wild Card matchup between the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals was futile — neither team had a chance to play in the Super Bowl before the game was even played. Adding a third Wild Card team would only create more meaningless contests like that — and that’s granted the system of seven teams on one side of the bracket could be mastered. (That’s not a safe bet).

The NFL’s current system is so symmetrical and so foolproof that tweaking it would prove yet again the owners care more about money than the product they’re putting on the field. No one wants to see more 8-8 teams in the playoffs except Jerry Jones and who wants to make him happy? I don’t see any hands.

Jeric Griffin is the General Manager for Follow him on Twitter @JericGriffin, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Around the Web

  • Farva55

    This is absolutely stupid of the NFL. Hands down.

  • Andrew

    I agree this is stupid but i disagree with your point based on the 8-8 teams. Its teams like the Cardinals, who have 10 wins in the best division, who would make it into the playoffs, not another 8-8 team.

    • justin lecroy

      I agree for the most part. It would be good for the 10 and 11 win teams that are left out. But it would water it down. The last 4 weeks of the NFL season was probably best I’ve ever seen. Part of that was bunch of bad weather and snow games which I love. But you think about how great last week was. Everyone was fighting for position until the end. If they expand it those games would’ve not been that big. Another thing a 7-9 team should never ever make PO. I wish they would go to 17 week season make it where you’re either a winning season or losing season. No one under allowed regardless of division title. Don’t reward mediocrity. I love the NFL PO they’re perfect except for seeding.

      • justin lecroy

        P.S I love what you said about who wants to see JJ happy LOL!!!!

  • Pingback: NFL Playoff Expansion: Adding Wild Card Teams Worst Idea Ever - 3G eStick

  • armynod

    As a Fan, whether I agree or disagree doesn’t matter. The owners see an opportunity to make more money and that’s all that really matters.

  • Kevin Pearson

    I disagree with your comment about the NFL structure having the perfect amount of teams. It was perfect when there were only five teams in each conference. Technically you only had four teams, three division winners and a wild card team, the only difference you had a one-game playoff to determine who would be the Wild Card Team.

    Then every division winner was guaranteed a one week bye. Sure one lost out on a home game, but they all had a first round bye.

    Now the way the playoffs are structured, you have division winner playing in what is called “Wild Card Weekend”. That is offensive to the ones that have won their division to have their games named after the ones that didn’t.

  • Jim Heyssel

    The NFL is trying to solve the obvious problem of having good teams locked out because, as the Cardinals were this year, they happen to be in a GREAT division. The answer is simple. Stop the nonsense of divisional seedings. The BEST 6 teams in each conference, regardless of division, need to be seeded accordingly.

    The game is national now. The attempt to continue regional rivalries has fallen by the wayside. If people want to remember those rivalries, great. Fans can do that. Meanwhile, the NATIONAL spread of the game means that competition needs to be fair across all teams. Forget divisions. In fact, I will go all the way and say, forget the stupid conferences too, a holdover from the old AFL-NFL merger. Just do the obvious thing, and have 32 teams from all over our great nation go at it for the top twelve spots. The best 12.

    I know that has been talked about by owners for some years now.

    The NFL is the NATIONAL football league. So, put the long gone rivalries away as a basis for playoffs. They will still be there, anyway. But, stop kidding around, NFL. PUT THE BEST 12 TEAMS in the playoffs, by record. Forget the stupid divisional seeding and conference crap.

    Don’t dilute the quality of the playoffs by putting extra teams in. Stupid.